Aug 14, 2014 9:00 AM

Author: Office of Public Affairs

It’s now a lot easier to avoid gluten.

Thanks to a ruling by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, foods with a “gluten- free” label now must have undetectable levels of gluten and cannot contain wheat, rye, barley or any of their derivatives.

Gluten is a protein found in such grains that can cause severe health problems for people who have celiac disease. Before the ruling, there was no federal standard or definition for gluten-free, so people with celiac disease couldn’t be assured that the foods they were consuming were safe for them.

Any packaged foods labeled “gluten-free” that fail to meet the FDA’s requirement will be considered misbranded and subject to regulatory action. The ruling does not apply to restaurants.

The gluten-free market has taken off in the past decade despite the relatively low number of people who have been diagnosed with celiac disease. Some people say that eating gluten-free products makes them feel better, while others believe that avoiding foods containing gluten will help them lose weight.

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